Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon
I am a huge Ben Monopoli fan. I’ll just put it out there. His first novel, The Cranberry Hush: A Novel, was the first gay romance I ever read. It was exquisite, as was his second book, The Painting of Porcupine City: A Novel, which was not only a great love story, but had an element of fantasy that took me by surprise. I think that’s one of the best things about Ben Monopoli. I would never get tired of reading his books, because each one is based in a world that is fascinating and original. Getting back to this book, though. This one is called Homo Action Love Story! A Tall Tale. A Tall Tale instead of A Novel? I know! Already I’m intrigued. And let me tell you, folks: this is, indeed, a tall tale. A tall tale that you will love and want to marry and bear it’s not quite as tall children. Trust me. Stop reading this review and buy it now. But then come back and finish the review, because I went to all of the trouble of writing it and everything.
So this book is about Boots McHenry and Ryan Croft, two professional paintballers who are also in love and living together. Let’s just pause there. Is this not the most genius idea for a book? And Boots frickin’ McHenry? Has there ever been a better name in the history of fiction? Don’t argue with me. There hasn’t. Unpause. The North American Paintball League isn’t kidding around. These guys get paid a ton of money, but it’s because the stakes are astronomical. If a player is shot during one of the games, they are taken from their friends and family and sent to a top-secret island, where they wait for five years before they can return to their lives and the people they love. Their loved ones have no idea where they are and are allowed no contact. Boots and Ryan are the best in the biz. No real worries there. Until, during a game, Ryan is shot and is immediately sent away. Boots is lost. His boyfriend is simu-dead and they never discussed their contingency plan. Should he stay faithful? Get some rebound lovin’ from his ex, Piper Pernfors (I mean, the names. Genius!)?
Luckily, Boots has a great friend named Clemente Santiago, who claims to be bored and proposes a rescue mission. Boots agrees. He just needs a few minutes to get some clarification or closure from Ryan so he can continue on with his life. They recruit Ryan’s MMA champion brother, Colby, and a hot sea captain named Marcus Trumble (Everyone’s hot and gay. Get over it.), and set off on Marcus’ yacht to find the mysterious island. And the trip is super uneventful, the end. Except the opposite happens. I will describe the adventure as sweaty, bloody, ridiculous, boozy, and pirate-infested. It’s straight up awesome.
Around the fourth paragraph of my reviews, I like to give my opinion of the book because up until now I’ve given a brief yet unbiased summary. If you consider it necessary at this point, you should really see a medical professional ASAP. Right after you buy this book and finish reading this review (in that order). I obviously loved it. Monopoli has taken a crazy, brilliant premise, created a blockbuster movie-worthy adventure, and then named it Homo Action Love Story! A Tall Tale, and created a cover with a cool guy jumping on the beach. It’s kind of perfection. To pretend like I found any kind of fault with this book would be insane. Yes, it’s over the top. It’s not realistic AT ALL. It’s as sentimental as the five big, manly, testosterone-fueled main characters. At it’s heart, though, it’s a love story. It doesn’t happen without a fight, but we do get our HEA and all of the madness settles to appease our fragile, tender hearts.
If you’ve followed my subtle instructions, you will have already bought this book and my job is done. If you haven’t, I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do for you. So read it and love it and then join my Ben Monopoli fan club, which is kind of boring since the only thing we really do is read his books, which come out approximately once a year. I did also yell-write “I LOVE YOU BEN MONOPOLI!!!” on his Facebook wall. So you can do that too.